FOP leader threatens no-confidence vote for interim chief if detective who said n-word isn’t reinstated

Cincinnati Police Detective Joehonny Reese on the job at the department's Supply Room.
Cincinnati Police Detective Joehonny Reese on the job at the department's Supply Room.(FOP President retired Sgt. Dan Hils via Ryan Stubenrauch with Communications Counsel)
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 10:59 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2022 at 11:27 AM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The executive board of the union that represents Cincinnati police unanimously voted Monday night to demand that Interim Police Chief Teresa Theetge immediately reinstate a veteran detective who was stripped of his gun, badge and police powers last week for saying the “n-word.”

“If this idiotic decision isn’t reversed, the next vote the Cincinnati FOP takes will be one of no confidence in our interim chief,” said police union president, retired Sgt. Dan Hils, in a news release Tuesday.

This is the third time in the past year a Cincinnati police officer has been investigated for saying the racial slur.

It happened while Detective Joehonny Reese, who is Black, was working an off-duty detail at a nightclub earlier this month, Hils says.

The vote among police union leaders came just hours Hils called on CPD officials to reinstate Reese in a news release sent out on behalf of the FOP by a public relations firm.

“As of Tuesday morning, Detective Reese, a veteran officer who helps keep our city safe, was folding pants at a desk, still stripped of his badge and his gun,” reads another news release sent out Tuesday on behalf of the FOP again by Ryan Stubenrauch with Communications Counsel.

The release included a picture of Reese at CPD’s supply room.

Reese was one of two officers working an off-duty assignment at Energy Nightclub when they were confronted by a white teenager, who had reportedly just been removed from the bar by security, according to Hils.

The teen threatened and berated the bar’s security staff and the two officers. Hils said the teen called the officers “fake n-words” and tried to assault them.

Reese told the teen he “wouldn’t be an n-word,” Hils said, saying the officers gave him “numerous chances” to leave without being arrested.

The teen was tased and arrested after he tried to attack the officers, according to Hils.

FOX19 NOW has requested comment from a police department spokesman and will update this story once we hear back.

We received the following prepared statements from the city on Monday when Hils first announced Reese’s status:

“As the Chief for the Cincinnati Police Department, it is my duty and responsibility to ensure that every allegation of misconduct by any member of this organization be investigated,” Interim Police Chief Teresa Theetge said.

“Regardless of the circumstances, a complete and thorough investigation will be conducted by our Internal Investigations Section (IIS). Under my leadership, it is standard practice to temporarily suspend police powers until an investigation into the use of a racial slur is complete.”

City Manager Sheryl Long said: “I fully support Cincinnati Police throughout this disciplinary hearing process, as expressly defined in the collective bargaining agreement between the FOP and City. We hold our sworn officers to a high standard, which is why it’s very important that the disciplinary process proceeds.

“Every case must go through the same, thorough investigation and critical review in order to avoid undermining the legitimacy of the process. I expect any decision will strictly adhere to the City’s disciplinary procedures.

Last month, some members of Cincinnati City Council proposed a “zero tolerance policy” for any police officer who used a racial slur, no matter the circumstances.

The policy has yet to be adopted by council members or implemented by CPD.

A veteran Cincinnati police officer, Rose Valentino, was recently put on desk duty with suspended police powers and then fired after saying the racial slur on duty following an April incident with a teenager outside Western Hills High School.

Another veteran officer, Kelly Drach, served a 56-hour suspension in May after admitting to using the racial slur on duty twice on two separate occasions in late 2021 on phone calls with fraudulent telemarketers.

Two other officers who said the racial slur in 2018 but received very different initial discipline took the city of Cincinnati and its now-former police chief to federal court over the summer.

A jury could not decide whether the city and former chief Eliot Isaac intentionally discriminated against the officers and deadlocked.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Dlott declared a mistrial in the case on July 22 and scheduled a second trial for Aug. 16.

However, the latest court records in the case show the court has arranged for a mediation.

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